Day something, Moment.

I am FEELING things today. I am frustrated as hell. Instead of just stuffing down and moving through, I took a minute to acknowledge my feelings.

1. I was on a call for work for over an hour where the same two people blew hot air for 90% of it. This call is supposed to be a weekly check in to give an overview of what everyone is working on. It inevitably veers into granular territory of specific projects by one particular individual. It is especially frustrating to me because this stuff has nothing to do with me. My portion of the check-in is typically crammed into the last 1-2 minutes of that call.

As aggravating as it is to hear one person drone on for an hour, I am fine with folks delving into details. I remind myself that, at times, this is actually valuable education. Other times, however, I feel that it is inconsiderate use of time. It is clear that my update is treated with minimal importance. I have a good relationship with my boss and could bring this up to him, but I need to sort through it first so I don’t come across as whiny. I want my voice to be heard. Also, random “pro tip”: NEVER use the word “just” in business emails. EVER.

2. The MBA v. Artist thing. Taking my courses is becoming such an emotional chore. I am really at odds with whether I want to see this through.

The thing is, when I consider quitting, several faces show up who are either judging, laughing at, rolling their eyes, or are disappointed in me. Throughout my life, I have had a lot of false starts and big ideas that went nowhere. Like – here she goes again. What tends to happen is I make a big statement like – “I’m going to be an art therapist” and then I start classes and then I drop out. And a couple years later I say, “I’m going to open up an art studio” and I secure a space and then a global pandemic happens and the whole idea crumbles. So I think, “I’ll get my MBA”, and apply, get into a program and then second guess whether or not I am looking for a high five from my parents or for someone to finally fucking take me seriously. ANYONE. Because I am worthless without a secondary degree apparently.

Also, I feel like a lot of my accomplishments are out of spite. Hhahah. I’m not even kidding. I rage-succeed. Jesus. Oh you think I can’t do that??? WATCH ME. And I’m wondering if that’s what THIS is. Again. Quitting drinking was partially a rage-success. Improving my credit was absolutely a hate-fuck.

But back to work stuff, I started working in an office in my early twenties. I NEVER fit in. I’m smart but I’m not good at herd mentality and I am terrible at sucking up. I was typically doing “women’s work” as a receptionist or secretary where I did a good job but ultimately got bored and then unmotivated and I’d eventually become horribly depressed and quit. This cycle happened 4-5 times.

I’ve been at my present job for 14 years. I enjoy what I do and I generally like the folks I work with. I have a flexible schedule and I get to run things without anyone breathing down my neck. As far as office jobs go, it’s perfect. But it’s still an office job and I’m at a conflict with myself about it. Our CEO is going to retire in the next few years. Basically, I like working for him. I feel very hesitant about starting over under someone else.

3. I am also not feeling heard at home. This is a very large knot that will need a lot of time and patience to untie. Typically, just looking at it sends me into a panic so I just pretend it’s not there. It’s just getting bigger. Surprise?

I think what I usually do is get angry and snippy and then I isolate myself and get into a merry-go-round of resentment in my head. Today, I took a breath and thought about it and felt the feeling. I kept repeating “feel this” which was weird. But I did. And I connected with it. And now I’m writing about it. I will not be getting into specifics but this feels like a baby step forward – for my own healing at the very least.

I feel like a lot of what I am looking for is permission.

DAY 88, 2020

I cannot believe I am almost at 90 days. I do not miss drinking. Each time I have a craving, I flash to the headache feeling or the sloppy, mortifying person I become when I drink. I am more quiet and thoughtful. I am becoming more secure in who I am – the creative parts, the deep thinking parts, the analytical parts, the woo woo parts. I am becoming who I have been meant to be.

I don’t think this is all alcohol related. I think this is part of growing into oneself. I am sure that everyone, whether the realize it or not, is slowly changing over a 90 day period for better or worse. The good news is, you get to start a new 90 day period every day if you want.

I don’t mean to sound high and mighty about this. It’s been hard work. It’s been strange navigating my relationships as a non-drinking person. Drunk Me had few boundaries and went with the flow for the good of the fucking party. Just saying that is gross. I put up with words and behavior and situations that would now qualify as wildly unhealthy, unsafe, and unacceptable.

I feel more powerful now. I feel power in the word “alcoholic” because it indicates that I am willing to look honestly at that part of myself and not run away.

TRIGGER WARNING – depression, self-harm, suicidal behavior

I have been thinking about my twenties a lot lately. My soul was so lost. I was a ghost. I barely existed where I stood. I’ve spoken here about how I drank to fit in and to make it more comfortable to interact with people.

When I wasn’t drinking though, I was severely depressed. I tried dozens of combinations of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. At 24, I drove my car into a pile of rocks and then drove the clunking car straight to the emergency room. I was fine from the small collision. But I wanted to die. My senses were heightened. Everything in my eyesight was sharp, yet I felt like I was just a pilot in my body. That last little shred of reason left in my brain knew I needed to get help.

As I drove, I sliced into my arms and legs with a broken CD case. It was all I could find. I felt possessed. I was conflicted. I didn’t know how I would pay for this but that small pilot directed me in. I answered so many questions. The room was tan. The furniture was vinyl.

The next step is fuzzy. I did not stay overnight. I must have gone home? But looking back, I’m not sure how I escaped the mandatory 72 hour hold. The next thing I remember is going to intensive outpatient. I did that for a couple of months.

My face bloated from all of the medication. Also, you’re not supposed to drink on that shit but clearly I didn’t adhere to that. I remember being at a music festival and my friend was taking pictures (with a real camera lol) and he said to me… I don’t know if I have ever seen you smile.

I was in this perpetual heavy conversation with myself in my head. I always felt like I should be doing more and should have amounted to more and should should should all over myself. I didn’t measure up. I didn’t finish college. I stopped singing. I kept painting though. That always got me through.

I don’t remember a lot of specifics from my twenties. All of the vignettes I recall are standing in a kitchen and drinking and smoking cigarettes and not feeling comfortable. I had a boyfriend through this period of time. We had gotten engaged actually. He was a nice guy. Smart. Also liked to party. We were toxic to one another.

I remember his mom asking me why I was so sad. I couldn’t answer. Partially because she terrified me (I was not alone in this) and partially because I simply did not know. I remember one day she held my face and said I just wish you could be happy. She meant it. It was kind… and intense. But she meant it. I guess I just exuded sadness.

I think our 50th breakup might have been the last. We still talk on occasion. He’s a good guy. I know why I loved him. And I know why we didn’t last.

That was a lot. That can count as a chapter. There’s another one but I don’t have the energy for it right now.

The good news is that we all know the ending, or at least the chapter we’re in now, is fine.

I didn’t even talk about this quarantinsanity. Next post.

Day 74, 2020

I am doing well. I mean there is a global pandemic and all but as well as one can do in this situation. We are embarking on having my son home from school for the next two weeks at minimum. I have a very ambitious schedule printed out during which I will have to find blocks of time to work. I have a feeling I will be pulling nights. I don’t mind. It all evens out.

I had a dream the other night that I drank. In the dream, I hadn’t realized it. I just drank a glass that was handed to me and continued to drink without thinking. Then, in a panic, realized that I had ruined everything. I was very upset.

In the morning, it took a bit for me to realize that I had not in fact had a drink. A good friend’s Dad who has been in the program for a long time reached out to me today and we went back and forth with stories. He was also a musician and acknowledged the very specific obstacle we have to endure being that alcohol is ever present in our industry. Aside from being exposed to it almost every time we play, it’s not only accepted, but expected to partake while we are playing. I digress. I told him about the dream and about how upsetting it was and he imparted that the longer you make it, the more precious it becomes. And that made a lot of sense.

We also talked about narcissism and alcoholism and how they tend to go hand in hand. It was a funny, honest, and much needed conversation. I am luck to have such people in my life.

Not sure if I mentioned that my neighbors are also program veterans and have been checking in with me. It’s nice to know that other people have gone through this and are living productive, peaceful, and fun lives. That normal changes.

Day 47, 2020

I took a dance class over the weekend and loved it. I can’t wait until next Saturday to take it again. I was impressed with myself. I haven’t lost my ability to follow choreography relatively quickly. Afterwards, I met one of my best friends for lunch. She has also quit drinking and is doing great. We talked about lot of shared experiences with this – how bad it got, not remembering big events we attended, being embarrassing, the constant recovery mode. It was good to relate and it was a relief to know that we had just as much fun without the bottle(s) of wine.

To be honest, I have worried how my relationships will change. I think about it A LOT. I’ve already seen some friendships begin to fade and it’s a fucking bummer. I’ve retreated a lot this past month and a half because I have been doing some HARD WORK. I don’t know when I’ll resurface. I’m not ready right now.

I spent a lot of time doing all of the things. Going to all of the dinners and events. Checking in on all of the people. I had to be at all of the places. I couldn’t miss a THING. If I did, I’d become irrelevant. People would forget about me. I would fade away.

And that may be true in some cases. And that’s ok. The years of permeable boundaries and trying to be “supportive” of virtually everyone, left me depleted. I mean, the whole thing was unhealthy – my need to be liked and my need for meaningful relationships were often at odds. Being a good person will remain important but I don’t have to be everyone’s best friend. I should keep an eye out for those who return that care and focus on them. I am lucky to have a good handful of those folks.

This is as far as I am gonna because I’m on the beach of some dense and murky stuff that I am not interested in dealing with right now. My boundaries are re-forming. I have to take care of myself, my needs, and my health for the foreseeable future.

But yeah. I really loved that dance class.

What the fuck.

Day 43, 2020

In trying to re-structure my time and make up for all of the cheesecake I’ve eaten over the past 43 days, I purchased two beginner packages to local exercise studios.

I took a “mindful yoga” class on Monday which was really lovely EXCEPT for the guy next to me. I was irritable to begin with. I knew this guy was trouble when I heard him humming loudly in the hallway. He was huffing and puffing and humming and set his mat up TOO CLOSE to mine. I moved over. I had death lasers in my eyes.

Throughout the class, this creature is SNIFFFFFLING on the “breathe ins” and HAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHING on the “breathe outs”. Like, picture telling a small child to breathe in and breathe out and having them over exaggerate while shooting snots in every direction. It was like that except it was a sweaty man in his thirties.

NOW… I am married to someone who is on the spectrum and has a tick disorder. I try to be gentle-hearted with people who don’t seem to be able to control atypical behaviors. HOWEVER, I feel strongly that this was just a guy who was used to taking up a lot of space and not taking any other humans into consideration. He had a wedding band. I want to call his wife.

So that happened.

Then last night I went to a barre class. I danced for about 10 years and did some musical theater where dancing was involved afterwards. (This experiment led me to realize I am NOT a musical theater person.) I’ve taken barre classes before and kind of arrogantly enjoyed them. I’ve heard people say they were really hard and I felt pretty smug about the fact that I didn’t think they were tough at all. WELL… the class I took last night put me in my place.

I had to stop. I was sweating like a waterfall. That teacher kicked my ass. And it was good. Initially, I was like “can I just leave”? But I pushed through and was really proud of myself. My body was FUCKING EXHAUSTED afterwards and I climbed into bed at 11pm. I slept like a baboon.

I don’t know how baboons sleep but that image just made me laugh.

So yeah, I’m trying not to be a sedentary chip-vacuum. Tonight, I can try Mindful Yoga again or maybe do an online thing at home. Or go to the regular gym. I have to do one of those things though.

Day 36, 2020

I’ve found my rhythm and do not miss drinking at my house after work until I pass out. I do, however, miss the idea of going to my favorite restaurant for my husbands birthday and not having the best sangria I’ve ever tasted. I’m actually on the fence about this. Like, can I have it one day and then go back to this? Probably not a smart thing to do.

I’ve been in a weird head space. I’m becoming very sensitive to other people and the way they treat me. As a Libra, I want everyone to get along. I hate discord and arguments. I often shut down when people want to argue or disagree or even boss me around. I’m not proud of this. It enrages me, actually. But I am finding how I easily kowtow to people to avoid any tense discussion.

If I’m honest, I’ve dealt with this my whole life. It’s a long-discussed topic in my therapy sessions. I was raised during a time when girls were better seen than heard. Even in the 80s and 90s. Sure there were women rising to power and fighting the good fight, but for most of us, especially those who were still young, it was still sit down and shut up time. ANNNNNNYWAYYYYY…

Between that cultural nonsense and my own internalized everything, I have a major problem with confrontation. I go with the flow and many times that drowns my wants and opinions. I’ve been making a conscious effort to at least say something if I feel like I’m being steamrolled. It’s hard and awkward.

Music has been a touchy thing for me because I’ve always felt “less than” as I don’t read music and have never studied an instrument. I’m self-taught and I make music through my heart. Sometimes I’m not taken as seriously because of this. I see it and feel it. And sometimes I’m bulldozed because I don’t have the language to back up what I’m saying.

At my daytime job, I also sometimes feel pigeon holed doing “women’s work” and it makes me nuts but I think I’m more apt to voice my opinion there. Maybe I have more confidence there? I don’t know.

This is going to be part of my peregrination.

Day 33, 2020

I have an old drinking friend from the time I was maybe 19. She makes delicious dinners and we sit at her table and drink and chain smoke and it is gloriously without filter or airs. I’ve been wondering what our friendship would look like if I stopped drinking. I am happy to report that I went to her house for a wonderful dinner with another friend, brought a six pack of Sprite Zero, and had a fantastic time. I went home quite a bit earlier than usual (10pm seems to be when I turn into a pumpkin) but it was a lot of fun. She had no idea that I had quit drinking. I told her Friday. I felt comfortable and relieved. I also was happy to be in my bed by 10:30.